Finding Gaps In The Social Media Monitoring Market

by · August 14, 201223 comments

For the longest time, if you wanted social media monitoring software, which is now being referred to as “social listening” software at a decible level hovering around obnoxious, but I digress, you had to pay about $500 per month for it. What that meant was social media monitoring wasn’t available to medium or small businesses.

While the market has gotten better with more affordable tools ( and even offer free solutions), you still have a large gap in quality and price, in my opinion. You also have a problem in the market in that many of the social media monitoring solutions (Radian6, Lithium Social Media Monitoring, Sysomos and the like) are adding features and gravitating to become much more social media management focused. They seem to have waned from monitoring and listening in an arms race to build the all-in-one platform brands seem to want.

Of course, that’s what happens when big companies acquire you. You are forced to find ways to make a lot more money fast. Losing focus is always going to be a post-acquisition issue.

SM2 - Listening PlatformSM2 recently launched a new social media monitoring (okay, listening) product last week that seems to fill that SMB gap in the monitoring space a bit. This SM2 product is not to be confused with the Alterian SM2 name which is a similar product from the same parent company but focuses on a more enterprise clientele. (Disclosure: SM2 is one of the most recent new advertisers here on Social Media Explorer. We thank them for their support!) Billed as software that brings enterprise class social media listening to small and mid-sized businesses, SM2 has a starting price point of $255 per month.

Depending upon your classification of small business, I’d argue that’s still not very affordable, but it’s a lot better than most of the paid solutions on the market (which start at around $500) and comes with the first 30-days free.

But SM2 seems to have the other issue fixed as well. They’re not trying to be everything to everyone. Clearly labeled as a social media listening platform, SM2 seems to be focused on doing that one thing very well. That’s refreshing in this day and age of social technology.  I’ve told many companies you can’t just add one social media management feature or another, you’ve got to add them all or you’re less attractive than everyone else who seems to be building feature sets like ants build hills. SM2 seems content to just do monitoring and do it well. That will be attractive to some customers.

Then there’s the fact parent company SDL is already publicly traded and has profitable business lines through other software products. They’re not smashing things together and going for the enterprise dollar here. They’re filling a gap in the social media monitoring market.

And sometimes, filling a gap is enough to vault a company from a role player to a star.

I’ve not yet used SM2 but have looked at a demo of the product and know it well enough to say it has to be worth trying if you’re looking for a listening platform. Heck, for 30 days you can do that for nothing, so it can’t hurt.

Jump over and check them out. You can click on the ad over on the sidebar or check out SM2 on their website.

If you’re already using SM2, tell us about your experiences in the comments. If you’re not using them, is $255 per month a reasonable cost for a good listening platform? The comments are yours.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • Social Media Outlook

    Not sure what you mean about, “SM2, a product of software giant SDL and not to be confused with Alterian SM2″, since SDL owns Alterian

    • JasonFalls

      Admittedly, I saw the Alterian product branded the old way on its website and considered the two separate products. I’ve removed the incorrect line and fixed. Thanks for the double-check. This space certainly can be confusing. 

    • JasonFalls

      And upon further review, I was actually right. Alterian SM2 is a different product focused on Enterprise clients. SM2, which is launching under the SDL parent brand, is the new SMB product. Clear as mud? Heh. I’ve corrected a few things again to ensure that’s clear.

  • 40deuce

    Of course, as a company, we have to keep evolving with the market. However, at the core of everything we add to our Sysomos software we’re still focused around monitoring (or listening if that’s what I have to say now) and analytics in the social space. That’s what we’ve always done well and that’s what we’ll continue to do.
    But yes, you are correct, our price may not be for everyone, but for the price I think that we’re worth every penny (granted my opinion here may be slightly biased).

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos & Marketwire

    • JasonFalls

      I don’t disagree, sir. Thanks for chiming in. I like the fact you are always listening … at least to us. ;-)

    • Matt Sharper

      again re-read the article how are you helping smb’s? your priced too high

  • David B. Thomas

    Hey, Jason. I’m actually typing this at the Buddy Media offices, where I can hear what sounds like a power saw on another floor, no doubt piecing bits of Radian6 and Buddy Media together. :) But seriously, I can tell you from the inside that all three entities (Salesforce, Radian6 and Buddy Media) are working with the same zeal we were before the acquisition(s) to make the best CRM, social listen… er, monitoring and social media publishing and advertising platforms. And we’re also working to make them act in harmony to form the kind of social media marketing platform that our customers are asking for. If you see any gaps, let me know. You know how much I value your opinion.


    • Matt Sharper

       noone needs all of that crap smashed together did you read the article? crm, social publishing, monitoring/ listening, advertising no just no… re-read the article 

      here are some quotes you should pay attention to

      “They seem to have waned from monitoring and listening in an arms race to build the all-in-one platform brands seem to want.
      Of course, that’s what happens when big companies acquire you”

      “They’re not trying to be everything to everyone. Clearly labeled as a
      social media listening platform, SM2 seems to be focused on doing that
      one thing very well.”

  • Warren Sukernek

    Jason, thanks for the kind words and post clarifications. :) We view the small and medium business market (SMBs) as underserved which is why we launched this eCommerce offering.  By providing SMBs and enterprise departments with the same listening tool as enterprise clients, but in a more flexible, cost-effective package, SDL feels that SMBs can achieve the same benefits from social listening as larger companies. SDL now offers a complete range of social intelligence solutions
    suitable for customers ranging from local businesses to large global

    By the way, great to see old friends @davidbthomas:disqus and @40deuce:disqus here.

    VP SDL SM2

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  • Matt Sharper

    255 A MONTH they are drunk…..

    • JasonFalls

      I can certainly see why some would think $255 a month is expensive, but keep in mind that depending on your business need, volume of conversation about you online and potential to mine those conversations for sales or even research opportunities, that amount may be incredibly value-rich. And know that a lot (in fact most) of their competitors charge twice that for the same type of service.

    • Tom Wondra

      Curious as to what everyone thinks would be a reasonable price for social listening. For those thinking 255/mo is too high, what would you be willing to pay?

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  • Guest

    How is SM2 $255/m? I only see a $300 option and a $500 option?

    • JasonFalls

      Good question. I’ll poke them to come answer! I’m sure it’s a configuration thing.

      • Wsukernek


        The lower prices are based on an annual commitment purchase.  Customers can sign up for monthly, quarterly, or annual terms with discounts associated with the length.

  • graemeford

    Why pay a lot? Utilise APIs, create your own bespoke tools

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    Many third party business are developing and offering those Modules Like

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